Colleges around Massachusetts are now mandating students to get at least one shot of covid vaccine to participate in the 2022/2023 session.
The updated bivalent booster became available in early September, and it is already becoming a rule that students must take them. Covid-19 boosters have become an international issue, and universities are not left as college presidents are taking measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in colleges.
Massachusetts health data reveals that only 7% of vaccinated adults ages 16 to 29 have received the second booster shot. After the Covid-19 vaccine was provided, many people were less interested in the second shots. According to trusted authorities, only 53% of those aged 16 to 19 years in Massachusetts received the first booster shot. More data showed that 47% of 20- to 29-year-olds in Massachusetts took the first shot.
The recent decline in the number of those taking the second round of the covid booster shots contradicts what experts say. After the first wave of Covid-19, BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants were detected, which led to second booster shots being required to protect individuals from the effects of the variants.
Harvard and other Colleges Make Second Booster Shots Mandatory
The University of Harvard and other colleges around Massachusetts, such as Tufts University, ask students to take the second round of the covid vaccine, or they will be denied entry in the next semester.
Boston University has also joined the list of universities asking their students to take the second dose of the Covid-19 boosters. Before the Thanksgiving break, the university held a clinic day to help students who haven't gotten the covid booster shot. Thanksgiving day is usually when many activities and meetings occur.
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"As a University, we wanted to offer bivalent boosters ahead of the colder months and holiday season with the expected increase in indoor gatherings," Colin Riley, a Boston University spokesperson, said in an email to WBUR.
In addition, the spokesperson also said that about six hundred students came to take the bivalent boosters when they held the one-day clinic day. Some students of Boston University, such as Ksenia Sherstyuk, said they came to take the booster because they didn't want to get sick unnecessarily. Ksenia Sherstyuk also mentioned that she still wears face masks in large groups to prevent the spread of the virus.
Some Universities Are Taking the Other Route
Not every university around Massachusetts requires the second booster of the Covid-19 vaccine before allowing students to campuses. Universities like Bentley University said that although they ensure that strict Covid-19 rules are followed, students don't need to take the second covid vaccine.
Ed Gavaghan, a spokesperson for Northeastern, said via email that the school has rules in place for resuming students, but they won't force anyone to take any vaccine. He added that the school has "consistently followed scientific data and public health requirements to maintain safe and open campuses throughout the pandemic."
Dr. Estevan Garcia, medical director at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, has issued a warning saying that more people should take the bivalent boosters so that they won't be another wave of Covid-19 in the winter.